Hi.

My name is Alyonka Larionov. 

I am a Host, Producer, Speaker, Writer, Podcaster + the Founder of

Wo/Men Workshop.

I believe in Empowering Emotional Intelligence, emphasizing Curiosity of the Human Condition, and deepening personal growth in the Discomforts of The Unknown.

LIVE.IN.LOVE

Award vs. Family | The PGA Awards

Award vs. Family | The PGA Awards


There are a million different ways I can take this right now.

For one, as a person who believes in life in the form of energy, I am not surprised our show, VICE World of Sports, did not win. By the end of our second season, people were burnt out, expired, tired, frustrated, overworked, and made to feel less than (equal) human. And I’m only speaking about the men in the group. I’ll save the being a Woman for another time.

Why do I say this? Because in the same way that I now find myself sitting leading a group of vulnerable individuals through story, truth and flaws in my Wo/Men Workshops, helping them weave their way out of the discomfort, I had been doing more or less of the same on an individual basis during my days at VICE.

Through multiple one-on-one conversations I helped my team navigate the politics and power dynamics that was working on the VICE World of Sports show. I heard and knew about all the minor and major complaints. I felt the disconnect in what should have been a connected team. Power and Politics. I tried my best - on top of the work I was doing as a producer - to manage and INSPIRE a team of truly wonderful human beings who felt deflated, unseen and unheard. Looking back, it’s no wonder I was dwindling away in mind, body and spirit. It was TOO much.

Had I known then what I know now, had I had the Power and Confidence which lines my foundation today, I would have SPOKEN UP and faced the main problem, instead of running around picking up the shattering individual pieces, falling at alarming rates. Through and through, our main fault was the LACK of communication, the very core of what my new career and life outlook have become all about: Authenticity, Transparency, Truth.

This dynamic does not take away from our individual experiences and the lessons-learned, the stories shared and the friendships made, and the overall excitement we had to have in order to work on the show. The care and love for the greater good of the show is something that was always there and cannot be taken away. However, in my opinion, when working in any profession, if one places too much emphasis and/or attention on the “child” (for lack of a better word) there is then the danger of the “parent dynamic” to find itself in a struggle to sustain the magic that brought them together in the first place. Resentment builds up. Unfair treatment is introduced. Reactions spike. Responses lessen. Bitterness boils. Empathy, or even sympathy disappears. Communication Errors. When focusing too much on the product instead of those producing it, Systems Fail.

In our haste to make something great, we lost sight of what brought us together in the first place: the drive and passion to tell meaningful + powerful stories amidst a small group of people whom we cherish and love. Whereas our Home should have stood on the solid foundation of Family First, Story Second, we built something quite incredible on shifty sand, putting priority on the product over the people whose blood, sweat and tears shaped it.


pga awards

Last week, as I sat in a room filled with Hollywood’s biggest and brightest industry players,

I couldn’t help but question how many of these “teams” of producers and actors sat there feeling the very same thing. Or did they - unlike me, someone who cannot swallow the bitterness of a pill lacking empathy - choose to swallow the "lack of empathy pill" whole, because the Award mattered more than the Family that built it. I cannot know. But what I do know is that any award, acknowledgment, accolade, like many other “successes” in life, do not matter if they are achieved on a foundation built on greed, dishonesty, inequality, disrespect and a massive lack in empathy.

So, no. We didn’t win the Producers Guild Award for Best Outstanding Sports Program. Someone else did. And I'm okay with that because I feel that there is a lesson for people to learn here. Since I cannot fix the past, I will send a message to the present team celebrating. That's you HBO and Bryant Gumbel. I hope that when you celebrated, you celebrated as a team, and that you continue building your stories and programming on an inclusive foundation, one that puts Family first, Story second, and that you never lose sight of the main reason we do what we do: empathy which should spill over from the stories into the team that is building them.

Perhaps in time I will return to work for a team who sees value in lifting each other up and celebrating the people on the team as much as we celebrate the product created. For now, I choose to step away from this world. My mission becomes ever more clear with each passing day and each passing experience. The PGA Awards were a timely and wonderful reminder that I am exactly where I'm meant to be. Telling My Story, Speaking My Truth, Championing My Flaws, and building community through inclusive conversation, connection, and Empathy.

Courageous Vulnerability. Lead with your Story, your Truth, your Flaws. Be courageous in your willingness to be Seen and to See others. That is the foundation of Leadership. Lead, I will.


p.s. Kadie (and others -- you know who you are) .. you made the hard days and nights WORTH it. Thank you for being my date and for being a Strong, Powerful, Complex WOMAN in a sea of Men. Love you.

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